How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight? - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 01-29-2018, 12:36 PM #1
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Default How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

So I recently had a conflict with my BPD sister in law. She asked me to go to brunch with her, but I had to work so I turned her down. As usual, she got really angry and tried to guilt trip me into taking off of work to go to brunch. I let her know how I felt. She wouldn't let it go, so I just stopped responding to her texts. 4 weeks later she's still mad about it. Of course I thought dropping it and giving her space would make the conflict a distant memory. She insists she doesn't know what she did wrong (she calls my husband and he explains it to her, but she still says she doesn't get it). She insists that we must have a sit down where I restate my case, rehash all of it. She says "How can I make sure I never do it again if we don't have a sit-down discussion?" but that if we don't have the discussion "I don't see how we can go back to things being normal." So she's decided that the only way we proceed with a relationship is if we have an argument, which is all that would happen during the "discussion." She isn't interested in my perspective, she says she doesn't even understand it.

So what do you do when someone is totally bent on having an argument with you? I assume whenever I see her again she will try to instigate this "discussion." I'm going to see her at ((her wedding is this year!!)) Thanksgiving, other holidays, no matter how much time passes, she's just waiting to have a fight with me? Arguing is not only a waste of time, it will fill her with even more bad feelings. The compassionate thing to do is NOT argue.

Last edited by starfruit504; 01-29-2018 at 12:38 PM. Reason: her wedding is this year!!
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:20 PM #2
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Smile Re: How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

Well... having no friends or extended family I don't have a lot of personal experience with this sort of thing. But this strikes me as being a matter of establishing & enforcing personal boundaries. As you can imagine, there are lots of articles in PsychCentral's archives on the subjects of boundaries & how to handle toxic people. Here are links to some of them:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-ar...do-i-get-some/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-imp...al-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-...er-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-ways...ficult-people/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/keeping...our-needs-met/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-to...ng-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/why-boundaries-dont-work/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/whats-...deal-with-one/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/careg...eed-to-escape/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to...amily-members/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-he...their-in-laws/

Also... family therapist, Kati Morton, has a video on her YouTube channel on the subject of boundaries. Here's a link to that video:

https://youtu.be/gBpDwbTsLlE

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Old 03-02-2018, 01:43 PM #3
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Default Re: How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

I feel for you starfruit..my wife of 50 yrs is unmedicated bpd ...at times they really,really don't know what is going on.i can never trust her feelings.or how she will react, ever... what you really,really have to do is to give up any anger you may get ,it only hurts you,makes your life more difficult....all the lecturing we do for our loved ones falls on deaf ears..how to improve their lives, do the right thing, always trying to control all the useless anger and in the 'end' they will blame you for all the 'useless' drama' It might sound cold but to argue with the dog would make more sense.so to get angry with her reasoning is useless......she will fight back like the house is on fire, so why bother...
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:05 PM #4
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Default Re: How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

There is a "GREAT" time that happened to me.I used to get really involved emotionally for her. mentally it was killing me, nami, psychiatrists always reading,researching stuff it was endless, And one day the light went on...I didn't do it....I can't control it she don't care and to bring it up ends up in brutal unnessisary anger. so I do what I can but I treat her totally different. sort of like I don.t care. ....Take care of yourself first cause if you don't know one else will...
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:34 AM #5
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Default Re: How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfruit504 View Post
So what do you do when someone is totally bent on having an argument with you? I assume whenever I see her again she will try to instigate this "discussion." I'm going to see her at ((her wedding is this year!!)) Thanksgiving, other holidays, no matter how much time passes, she's just waiting to have a fight with me? Arguing is not only a waste of time, it will fill her with even more bad feelings. The compassionate thing to do is NOT argue.
It sounds like she wants to provoke you. You could tell her, "We are not going to have a discussion about this" and be consistent with it. Yes, I know she could be equally consistent. But her aim is for you to give in. Don't give in. Once you open the door to the conversation, it's going to be very hard to get out of it. I speak from my own personal experience.

But if you ever end up discussing it, make it a one time deal, so that next time she bugs you, you can say, "We already discussed about this and we are done."
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:21 AM #6
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Default Re: How to avoid fighting with a bully SIL who only wants to fight?

Lets pretend she REALLY wants to understand rather than argue. Tell her you dont want to argue but you understand she needs clarification. Tell her you do not need justification but since she says she doesnt know what she did you'd be happy to type up an email or letter to her. She will protest and insist that isnt the right way or what she wants. SO repeat yourself- you do not want a discussion because it will lead to a fight so this is the best way you can honor her wishes in wanting to understand while protecting yourself and honoring you own wishes. Then write the email and be as non-confrontational and explicitly explain everything down to the last detail. Then give it to her or click send. Everything else that follows will be on her.
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